Prahlad Tipanyais one of the most compelling folk voices of Kabir in India today who combines singing and explanation of Kabir in the Malwi folk style from Madhya Pradesh. He has received several awards including the Padma Shri in 2011.
Mooralala Marwada is a folk singer from Kutch district of Gujarat in western India, and sings the poetry of Kabir along with other poets such as Mira, Ravidas and also the Sufi Sindhi poet Shah Abdul Lateef Bhitai.
Mukhtiyar Ali is from the semi-nomadic Mirasi Community which hails from the Thar Desert. Mukhtiyar represents the 26th generation of this humble community which has successfully kept alive the oral tradition of Sufiana Qalam. He also sings the poetry of Kabir, Mira and other Sufi poets like Bulleh Shah.
Bhanwari Devi is a folk singer from Rajasthan. With ‘ghoongat’ on her head and a mike in her hand, Bhanwari devi, a woman folk singer in an almost male dominated arena is a powerful performer of Kabir poetry.
Shabnam Virmani and Namrata Kartik Shabnam Virmani is the Director of the Kabir Project,Bangalore. Inspired by the inclusive spirit of folk music, she has begun to play the tambura and sing folk songs of Kabir herself. Namrata Kartik has been working with Shabnam at the Kabir Project. Her extensive training in Carnatic classical music and a passion for music led her to start singing with Shabnam and now increasingly she accompanies her on stage performances as well.
‘Akatha Kahani’ – A song, story and dance presentation features three sisters – Jaya Madhavan author of ‘Kabir the weaver poet’ book, Bindhumalini a trained Carnatic and Hindustani music Singer and Archana a Bharatnatyam dancer. Punctuated with personal sharing, excerpts from Kabir the weaver poet, and abhinaya for select padas, Akatha Kahani’s pivot however is Kabir’s songs which the sisters sing together as an impassioned plea to Kabir in order to evoke and approach Kabir, the sensitive, sensible and spiritual being present in all of us.
Ameetha Singh – a story teller – will tell stories to children with different NGOs to give younger children a memorable introduction to Kabir.
Shabnam Virmani – a documentary film maker – travelled extensively with folk singers in the post Godhra period looking for the voice of reason.These travels resulted in four documentary films as well as recordings of the Kabir poetry in folk music of different parts of India. Kabir Project, with Shabnam at its helm has inspired and helped many Kabir Festival in different parts of India and the world.
Films which will be screened before and during the festival :
- Chalo Hamara Des: Journeys with Kabir and Friends (Dur: 98 min)
- Kabira Khada Bazar Mein: Journeys with Sacred and Secular Kabir (Dur: 94 min)
- Had-Anhad: Journeys with Ram and Kabir (Dur: 103 min)
- Koi Sunta Hai: Journeys with Kumar and Kabir (Dur: 96 min)
The words of Kabir and his contemporaries are relevant even today, because ‘nothing has changed’. Religious discord, exploitation, hatred, greed, corruption, social evils ….everything still exists. The universal relevance of Kabir Vani is due to the fact that human nature – which he understood so well- continues to remain the same.
The festival is a voluntary effort by people from different walks of life, drawn together by their passion for the poetry of Kabir and the music of folk singers and who are in the process of forming a community to organize many such events in future.
The festival hopes to reach every person in Mumbai through 15 different events in various parts of Mumbai. From Nariman Point to Borivali and Matunga to Vashi the city will swing to the tune of Kabir during these three days.